Chris (C.C.) Humphreys interview with David Alan Binder

posted Jul 19, 2018, 5:17 PM by David Alan Binder   [ updated Jul 20, 2018, 2:26 PM ]

Chris (C.C.) Humphreys interview with David Alan Binder


Bio from his website:  Chris (C.C.) Humphreys is an AUTHOR, ACTOR, and SWORDSMAN of four grandparents who were actors and since his father was an actor as well, it was inevitable he would follow the bloodline. He has acted all over the world and appeared on stages ranging from London’s West End to Hollywood’s Twentieth Century Fox. Favorite roles have included Hamlet, Caleb the Gladiator in NBC’s Biblical-Roman epic mini-series, ‘AD – Anno Domini’, Clive Parnell in ‘Coronation Street’, and Jack Absolute in Sheridan’s ‘The Rivals’.


Chris has written ten historical novels. The first, ‘The French Executioner’ told the tale of the man who killed Anne Boleyn, was runner up for the CWA Steel Dagger for Thrillers 2002, and has been optioned for the screen. Its sequel was ‘Blood Ties’. Having played Jack Absolute, he stole the character and has written three books on this ‘007 of the 1770’s’ – ‘Jack Absolute’, ‘The Blooding of Jack Absolute’ and ‘Absolute Honour’- short listed for the 2007 Evergreen Prize by the Ontario Library Association, all currently being re-released in the US by Sourcebooks. His novel about the real Dracula, ‘Vlad, The Last Confession’ was a bestseller in Canada and his novel, ‘A Place Called Armageddon’ was recently published in Turkish. All have been published in the UK, Canada, the US and many have been translated in various languages including Russian, Italian, German, Greek, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Serbian, Turkish and Indonesian. His adult novel ‘Shakespeare’s Rebel’, about William Shakespeare’s fight choreographer at the time of ‘Hamlet’, was released in the UK in March 2013 and in Canada August 2011.


His most recent adult novels for Century in the UK and Doubleday in Canada are ‘Plague’ and ‘Fire’. Tales of religious fundamentalist serial killers set against the wild events of 1665 to 1666, London, ‘Plague’ won Canada’s Crime Writers’ Association Best Crime Novel Award, the Arthur Ellis in 2015. In the Summer of 2016, both novels spent five weeks in the Globe and Mail Top Ten Bestseller list.


He has also written a trilogy for young adults ‘The Runestone Saga’. A heady brew of Norse myth, runic magic, time travel and horror, the first book in the series ‘The Fetch’ was published in North America in July 2006, with the sequel, ‘Vendetta’ in August 2007 and the conclusion, ‘Possession’, August 2008. They are also published in Russia, Greece, Turkey and Indonesia. His Young Adult novel ‘The Hunt of the Unicorn’ was released by Knopf in North America in March 2011 and also published in Spain. A loose sequel, The ‘Hunt of the Dragon’, was published in Canada in Fall 2016.

The novel ‘Girl on a Zeppelin’. It tells of Roxy Loewen, a 1930’s Aviatrix, a tough and sassy flyer who steals art from under Hitler’s nose at the Berlin Olympics and ends up on the Hindenberg.

His new novel is ‘Chasing the Wind. A thriller, it tells of Roxy Loewen, a 1930’s Aviatrix, a tough and sassy flyer and gun runner who, with her Communist lover Jocco steals art from under Hitler’s nose at the Berlin Olympics and ends up on the Hindenberg.

Link for the new novel:

His website:

1. Where are you currently living?


I live in a forest on a gorgeous island – Salt Spring, British Columbia, Canada. Just North of your American San Juans.


2. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?


Respect the process. Writing is a series of stages, each with their own imperatives. The concepts of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ only apply very late in that process.


3. What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?


In the process, one of the last things I do is go through the manuscript and replace ‘it seemed’ or ‘it appeared’. It either is, or it is not. It doesn’t ‘seem’.  I also need a ready supply of boiled candies to suck upon, preferably Mint Humbugs.


4. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?


Like many mid-listers, I have recently become ‘hybrid’ – so my latest novel, ‘Chasing the Wind’ was published by Doubleday in Canada since June 5th – so I indie pubbed it to the rest of the world. Early days, but its hard – there is so much noise out there, too many books, so much savvy marketing.


Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they located?


Several. Right now, Doubleday in Toronto, Canada and Gollancz in London, UK.


5. Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?


I think all have their place. The idea is to get stories out there so any means you can do that is good. Just so long as people read.


6. How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?


Find out who your target agent represents who is similar to you, read that author, then quote him/her in the first line of your query letter. (This tactic landed me my very first agent).


7. What was one of the most surprising things you learned with your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?


That 85% of the preliminary research I did over 6 years was procrastination to avoid starting my first novel (The French Executioner) was useless.


8. How many books have you written?


16 published, first draft done on Number 17. Plus four plays.


9. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?


When I teach, I always emphasize that writing is a journey in a series of stages and not a destination. Each stage has its own needs and impetus. i.e. When writing the first draft, it’s only purpose is for you to find out what the story is, who these characters are. ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ are irrelevant. See the first draft as a free climb up a mountain you’ve never climbed before. Do it the best you can. When you get to the top (finish that draft) look down and go ‘Hooray!’ then ‘Whoa! Shouldn’t have taken that detour… yet looked what it showed me!’ Forget grammar, consistency, spelling: write! Second climb (second draft), you find the ideal route… in the edit! Then you go up the very best route with your editor on draft number three.


10. Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?


Save twists for the second draft, when you’ll have a better overview of the flow of the book. Make it obvious in the first draft, then brush over the trail during second and subsequent drafts.


11. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?


A great cover, a great subtitle, an intriguing synopsis on the back. What hooks a reader? Hit ‘em with your best shot, immediately. You have seven seconds to make a sale.


12. What are some ways in which you promote your work?


All the usual channels. (I am not very good at it!)


13. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?


I would probably not leave one publisher for another – why swap deck chairs on the Titanic?


14. What saying or mantra do you live by?


‘Write you fool! What else are you good for?’ (James Joyce)


15. Anything else you would like to say?


No, all good. Thanks!